The use of drugs producing so-called ‘legal highs’ by inmates is causing serious problems at Highpoint Prison, a court has heard.
Ipswich Crown Court was told that the substances are easily available and are being used by many people.
Details of the problem emerged yesterday as William Flynn was sentenced for an offence of affray at the prison in Stradishall in October last year.
Flynn, 31, who is serving a six year sentence for robbery and burglary, had been using a ‘legal high’ called Spice when he became aggressive, produced a home-made weapon consisting of a toothbrush embedded with two razor blades and confronted a prison officer.
Defending, Robert Sallis told the court: “It was simply the drug that was controlling his behaviour.”
The incident had begun when Flynn’s request to be moved from the main prison to a segregation area was turned down, said Michael Crimp, prosecuting.
Flynn became aggressive and started “thrashing about” with the home-made weapon when an officer told him to return to his cell.
Mr Crimp said the officer drew his baton in an attempt to restrain Flynn but fell to the floor, injuring his back.
In mitigation, Mr Sallis said that Flynn was genuinely remorseful and had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
After ending his use of heroin and crack cocaine, Flynn had turned to using Spice to which he had become addicted and it had made him paranoid, said Mr Sallis.
Mr Sallis said: “The problem was replacing two class A drugs with a legal high which hasn’t necessarily improved things.”
Since the incident, Flynn had stopped using all substances and planned on his release from prison to enrol on a residential course to help ensure he did not return to drug use.
Mr Sallis said Flynn’s situation had not been helped by the ready availability and widespread use of ‘legal highs’ at Highpoint and many other prisons across the UK.
He said: “It is a really serious problem.”
Jailing him for a further 12 months, Judge Peter Jacobs said that while Flynn, who is now being held at HMP Norwich, had been under the influence of a drug, there was a degree of premeditation because he had armed himself.